Hurricane Florence Hurricane Tracker

    Bertram Raymond
    By Bertram Raymond
    Pending Moderator Review

    Our gas grill has a side stove just for the eventuality of having something to cook on if the power goes out. I had an empty propane tank I had been meaning to fill.During hurricane Mathew, they shut off the water to the barrier islands and I warned everyone that this might happen again, so I had a spare 5 gallon gas can that I had never used for gas and I filled it up with tap water for just in case. This turned out to be a very good decision.The storm was forecast to reach us very late Sunday and early Monday morning. By Saturday stores were boarding up, but still open. I made a last trip to the store on Saturday with the intention of stopping at the hardware store to fill the spare propane tank. When I passed the hardware store, there was no way to enter their parking lot because it was completely full and cars were there in the parking lot waiting for someone to pull out so that they could park. The computer models had Erma moving farther west giving Tampa a direct hit from the gulf.When ever the neighborhood hunkers down for a storm, we hand out these cheap Family Radio System walkie talkies just in case the phones go down and this storm was no exception.Later on Saturday I called the hardware store to see if they had any propane and they had just received a shipment and could fill my tank. When I arrived there was a line of people waiting to get their propane tanks filled and I did not have to wait too long.The NOAA weather site has a nice real time radar website and by Saturday night you could see the storm approaching south Florida. When a hurricane approaches it usually sucks any bad weather away. Normally the day before the storm and the day after the storm the weather is beautiful, but this was not the case with Erma. Sunday morning I went to take a drive around town just to see what was still open and what was going on. I found just a couple of gas stations and a 711, which was extremely busy. Later Sunday afternoon my mother in law came over with her cat. The wife and her mother like to play scrabble and Yahtzee and that evening they were fully engaged having candles at the ready. By late Sunday night the wind was picking up.I was watching my weather station which I had put up on the roof just a few days earlier anticipating Erma's arrival. Its one thing to hear the wind blowing hard, and its another thing to have an instrument that says yes in fact it's blowing hard. When the wind got strong I retired to my man cave where I have my ham radio station where I could converse with the other hams in the area. I took my outside antenna down and laid it on the ground before the storm so that I could simply pull it back up afterward. This plan worked great during Hurricane Mathew the year before. There were ham radio operators at 4 evacuation shelters and there were several others hunkered down and on the air. This how much does a wind turbine cost experience left me very irritated.